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Google to collect data to create a full picture of what a healthy human being is

Google to collect data to create a full picture of what a healthy human being is | healthcare technology |
Called Baseline Study, Google's project will gather anonymous genetic and molecular information to create a full picture of what a healthy human is.

The early-stage project is run by Andrew Conrad, a 50-year-old molecular biologist who pioneered cheap, high-volume tests for HIV in blood-plasma donations.

Dr. Conrad joined Google X—thecompany's research arm—in March 2013, and he has built a team of about 70-to-100 experts from fields including physiology, biochemistry, optics, imaging and molecular biology.

Other mass medical and genomics studies exist. But Baseline will amass a much larger and broader set of new data. The hope is that this will help researchers detect killers such as heart disease and cancer far earlier, pushing medicine more toward prevention rather than the treatment of illness.

"With any complex system, the notion has always been there to proactively address problems," Dr. Conrad said. "That's not revolutionary. We are just asking the question: If we really wanted to be proactive, what would we need to know? You need to know what the fixed, well-running thing should look like."

The project won't be restricted to specific diseases, and it will collect hundreds of different samples using a wide variety of new diagnostic tools. Then Google will use its massive computing power to find patterns, or "biomarkers," buried in the information. The hope is that these biomarkers can be used by medical researchers to detect any disease a lot earlier.

The study may, for instance, reveal a biomarker that helps some people break down fatty foods efficiently, helping them live a long time without high cholesterol and heart disease. Others may lack this trait and succumb to early heart attacks. Once Baseline has identified the biomarker, researchers could check if other people lack it and help them modify their behavior or develop a new treatment to help them break down fatty foods better, Dr. Conrad said.

Google has already built one of the world's largest networks of computers and data centers to serve online-search results quickly and run other data-hungry services like the video website YouTube. This computing muscle can now be used to store and crunch medical information and let other researchers access it more easily.

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Big Data Peeps At Your Medical Records To Find Drug Problems

Big Data Peeps At Your Medical Records To Find Drug Problems | healthcare technology |

It's been tough to identify the problems that only turn up after medicines are on the market. An experimental project is now combing through data to get earlier, more accurate warnings.

No one likes it when a new drug in people's medicine cabinets turns out to have problems — just remember the Vioxx debacle a decade ago, when the painkiller was removed from the market over concerns that it increased the risk of heart attack and stroke.

To do a better job of spotting unforeseen risks and side effects, the Food and Drug Administration is trying something new — and there's a decent chance that it involves your medical records.

It's called Mini-Sentinel, and it's a $116 million government project to actively go out and look for adverse events linked to marketed drugs. This pilot program is able to mine huge databases of medical records for signs that drugs may be linked to problems.

The usual system for monitoring the safety of marketed drugs has real shortcomings. It largely relies on voluntary reports from doctors, pharmacists, and just plain folks who took a drug and got a bad outcome.

"We get about a million reports a year that way," says Janet Woodcock, the director of the FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. "But those are random. They are whatever people choose to send us."

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Genetic researchers have a new tool in API-controlled lab robots

Genetic researchers have a new tool in API-controlled lab robots | healthcare technology |

A life-sciences-as-a-service startup called Transcriptic has opened its APIs to the general public, allowing researchers around the world offload tedious lab work to robots so researchers can spend more of their time analyzing the results.

Using a set of APIs, researchers can now command Transcriptic’s purpose-built robots to process, analyze, and store their genetic or biological samples, and receive results in days.

The high concept idea, says Founder and CEO Max Hodak, is cloud computing for life sciences — only with “robotic work cells” instead of servers on the other end. “We see the lab in terms of the devices that make it up,” he said, meaning stuff like incubators, freezers, liquid handlers and robotic arms to replace human arms.

And although Transcriptic’s technology is complex, the process for getting work done is actually pretty simple. Researchers write code to tell the robots exactly what to do with the samples (right now, the company focuses on molecular cloning, genotyping, bacteria-growing and bio-banking), and then they send their samples to the Transcriptic lab.

Alternatively, Transcriptic’s robotic infrastructure can also synthesize samples for users.

And although Transcriptic’s technology is complex, the process for getting work done is actually pretty simple.

Researchers write code to tell the robots exactly what to do with the samples (right now, the company focuses on molecular cloning, genotyping, bacteria-growing and bio-banking), and then they send their samples to the Transcriptic lab. Alternatively, Transcriptic’s robotic infrastructure can also synthesize samples for users.

When the job is done, researchers get their results. That process can take anywhere from a day to weeks, Hodak explained, in part because the company’s operation is still pretty small and in part because “cells only grow and divide so quickly.”

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The Role of Facebook in Crush the Crave - Mobile & #hcsm Smoking Cessation Intervention

The Role of Facebook in Crush the Crave - Mobile & #hcsm Smoking Cessation Intervention | healthcare technology |

The Role of Facebook in Crush the Crave, a Mobile- and Social Media-Based Smoking Cessation Intervention: Qualitative Framework Analysis of Posts

Background: Social networking sites, particularly Facebook, are increasingly included in contemporary smoking cessation interventions directed toward young adults. Little is known about the role of Facebook in smoking cessation interventions directed toward this age demographic.

Objective: The aim of this study was to characterize the content of posts on the Facebook page of Crush the Crave, an evidence-informed smoking cessation intervention directed toward young adults aged 19 to 29 years.

Results: We found that the original Crush the Crave Facebook posts served two main purposes: to support smoking cessation and to market Crush the Crave.

Most of the original posts (86/121, 71.1%) conveyed support of smoking cessation through the following 7 subthemes: encouraging cessation, group stimulation, management of cravings, promoting social support, denormalizing smoking, providing health information, and exposing tobacco industry tactics. The remaining original posts (35/121, 28.9%) aimed to market Crush the Crave through 2 subthemes: Crush the Crave promotion and iPhone 5 contest promotion.

Most of the reply posts (214/278, 77.0%) were in response to the supporting smoking cessation posts and the remaining 64 (23.0%) were in response to the marketing Crush the Crave posts.

The most common response to both the supporting smoking cessation and marketing Crush the Crave posts was user engagement with the images associated with each post at 40.2% (86/214) and 45% (29/64), respectively.

The second most common response consisted of users sharing their smoking-related experiences. More users shared their smoking-related experiences in response to the supporting smoking cessation posts (81/214, 37.9%) compared to the marketing Crush the Crave posts (11/64, 17%).

With the exception of 4 posts, a moderator posted all the original posts. In addition, although 56.00% (18,937/33,815) of Crush the Crave Facebook page users were men, only 19.8% (55/278) of the reply posts were made by men.

Finally, men were found to be more likely to express sarcasm or make strong assertions about quitting smoking and Crush the Crave than women.

Conclusions: The CTC Facebook page presents as a unique platform for supporting young adult smoking cessation at all stages of the cessation process. The findings of this study indicate that social networking sites, especially Facebook, warrant inclusion in tobacco control efforts directed towards young adults. Research on effectiveness of the Facebook page for quitting smoking is needed.

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Software Spots Sensitive Traces in Health Records

Software Spots Sensitive Traces in Health Records | healthcare technology |

New software could give people greater control over how their personal health information is shared between doctors and medical institutions—provided that enough health providers decide to use the system.

Today a patient’s data typically stays within a hospital group or doctor’s practice. If you get care elsewhere you are essentially a blank slate unless a special request for your data is made, in which case the entire record becomes accessible. But many patients may not want their entire medical history to be accessible by everyone they see, so there is pressure to develop tools that can be used to limit access. One tricky issue is that redacting details of a diagnosis may not remove all the clues as to that condition, such as prescribed drugs or lab tests.

A new tool developed by computer scientists at the University of Illinois can figure out which parts of a record may inadvertently reveal aspects of a patient’s medical history. The idea is that as data-sharing proposals advance, the patient would decide what parts of his or her record to keep private. A clinician would get advice from the technology on how to amend the record to ensure that this occurs.

The software bases its recommendations on a machine-learning analysis of many other medical records. This reveals what details could be associated with things like mental health episodes, past drug abuse, or a diagnosis of a sexually transmitted disease when the record is shared with another hospital or doctor. The tool could eventually automatically remove those additional details to keep that information confidential.

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Personalized medicine in psychiatry: problems and promises

Personalized medicine in psychiatry: problems and promises | healthcare technology |

The central theme of personalized medicine is the premise that an individual’s unique physiologic characteristics play a significant role in both disease vulnerability and in response to specific therapies.

The major goals of personalized medicine are therefore to predict an individual’s susceptibility to developing an illness, achieve accurate diagnosis, and optimize the most efficient and favorable response to treatment. The goal of achieving personalized medicine in psychiatry is a laudable one, because its attainment should be associated with a marked reduction in morbidity and mortality.

In this review, we summarize an illustrative selection of studies that are laying the foundation towards personalizing medicine in major depressive disorder, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia. In addition, we present emerging applications that are likely to advance personalized medicine in psychiatry, with an emphasis on novel biomarkers and neuroimaging.

Excerpt From the Conclusion:

The prospect of personalized medicine in psychiatry more or less reflects ideals still largely unrealized. Currently, the field is at the information-gathering infancy stage.

The greatest progress can be expected at the intersections of the categories described above, such as gene × environment and genes × biomarkers, which will poise psychiatry to make biological system-based evaluations. Furthermore, some of the emerging applications, including imaging genomics, strengthen our conviction that the future for personalized medicine is highly promising.


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How to create long-term value with wearables?

How to create long-term value with wearables? | healthcare technology |

Sustained engagement is emerging as the key challenge for companies developing wearable devices and complementary services. What these companies may not be aware of is the importance of habit formation, social motivation, and goal reinforcement. These three factors, drawn from behavioral science, contain the secrets to successful wearable products and related services that get used and deliver real value.

A failure to engage

A surprising percentage of devices in the market fail to achieve even short-term engagement for many users because they suffer from one or more fatal user experience flaws.

Product design teams typically work toward nine baseline criteria that must be met to drive initial adoption and use: selectability, design, out-of-box experience, fit/comfort, quality, user experience, integration ability, lifestyle compatibility, and overall utility.

Many current devices fail on one or more of these criteria by breaking, failing after a shower, pulling the hairs off your arm, running down quickly, or being a pain to sync with your smartphone. Sadly, the growing number value-added services designed to exploit the data these wearables provide and their open APIs also suffer from similar problems with user experience.

Beyond traditional design criteria

However, even if these criteria are satisfied, they are not sufficient to drive long-term use. Traditional product design criteria are only part of the key to developing successful wearable products and services.

Devices and services that help wearers change their habits also promote sustained behavior change and lead to long-term health. Behavioral science offers three other critical factors that can lead to the development of successful wearable products and related services.

Key factor #1: habit formation

Sustained engagement with a wearable device or complementary service depends on its ability to help the user form and stick with new habits. Psychologists define habits as automatic behaviors or routines that are triggered by situational cues, which are then followed by some form of reward. Habits have three key components: cues, routines, and rewards. The best wearable devices have the potential to make the process of habit formation more effective and efficient than ever before.

Key factor #2: social motivation

Sustained engagement beyond initial habit formation with a wearable device or complementary service depends on its ability to motivate users effectively. Social connections are a particularly powerful source of motivation that can be leveraged in many creative ways. In addition to using social connections to influence behavior, social media and networking sites can be exploited to alter habits for positive outcomes. This includes the communication of social norms through “postings” or “sharing” of thoughts, pictures, and comments with one another.

Key factor #3: goal reinforcement

To achieve sustained engagement, a user needs to build on these habits and social motivation to experience a feeling of progress toward defined goals. Research shows that achieving several smaller goals provides the positive momentum necessary for achieving bigger goals. Wearable products and services that help people experience continuous progress can do so, for example, through real-time updates that are powered by big data and insights. Facilitating personal progress in this way leads to improved health, user satisfaction, and long-term, sustained engagement.

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Online community connects 3D printer owners with people who need prosthetic hands

Online community connects 3D printer owners with people who need prosthetic hands | healthcare technology |

A chance connection over the internet has spawned multiple efforts to provide 3D printed hands at an extremely low cost.

Around the world, there are people who have lost all or part of their hand, or were born without one. There are also people and institutions with 3D printers. Pair the two, and you can print a custom mechanical hand for $20-150 — thousands less than the typical prosthetic.

e-NABLE, which functions through a website, Facebook page and Google+ page, stepped up to connect the two after site founder Jon Schull came across work by American prop maker Ivan Owen, who made a metal mechanical hand for South African carpenter Richard Van As. Van As had lost four of his fingers in a carpentry accident.

Owen was then contacted by a mother whose 5-year-old son needed a hand. He again made a metal hand for the boy. But then he turned to 3D printing. MakerBot gave both Owen and Van As a 3D printer.

The pair developed a 3D printed hand for the boy and then posted the design to Thingiverse, where anyone could download and print it.

Van As and Owen’s efforts toward developing 3D printed hands live on via the Roboand project, which has created more than 200 hands and now branched into prosthetic fingers and arms. But Schull was interested in connecting people who needed hands with individual makers and institutions that had 3D printing skills, but potentially idle printers.

He started a Google+ page, and then a Facebook page and website. More than 300 makers make their services available to people who contact e-NABLE about a hand. Just a quick scroll through posts on the Facebook page reveals many, many people who have a use for a hand.

“I see e-NABLE as a crowd-sourced pay-it-forward network for design, customization and fabrication of all sorts of assistive technologies,” Schull told Rochester Institute of Technology, where he is a researcher. “This is a scalable model that could go way beyond 3D printed prosthetic hands.”

Inforth Technologies's curator insight, February 26, 5:23 AM

Such a great idea.  3D printed prosthetics can be custom fit to the owner.

Andreas Eriksen's curator insight, February 26, 10:23 AM

Awesome Samsung phones/accessories on

petabush's curator insight, February 27, 1:05 AM

Interesting model for 'crowd sourced pay-it-forward network' 

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Fitness Trackers Are Useless Without Real-Time, Personalized Analysis

Fitness Trackers Are Useless Without Real-Time, Personalized Analysis | healthcare technology |

No one has arms long enough to wear all of the activity-tracking wristbands currently on sale or awaiting release. These devices count your steps, measure your sleep and some even monitor your heart rate.

But do you know how this information immediately applies to your lifestyle, or what you should do with it?

The services behind these trackers need to invest in immediacy by providing useful information, ideally in real time, so we can optimize our wealth of data into action.

Everyone wants to be better, but nobody has a baseline for understanding themselves.

what use is the data without knowing in real time what you, individually, can do to change it?

I’d like to know whether I need to slow down. Am I pushing myself too hard?

nrip's insight:

If I got a dollar for each time I said this to someone in the last year, I would have got a million plus by now :) ...  I am happy that others see this as a deal breaker for wearables too.

The mediXcel PHR is solving this very problem by trying to build a personalized analysis engine on top of the wearable databank it has which connects to 40 odd wearables at the moment.

Jay Gadani's curator insight, August 6, 8:46 PM

A good example of how data is cool. But, in order to make it meaningful, it needs to be analysis!! 

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Epigenetics - A Timeline

Researchers are clarifying epigenetic intricacies such as missing heritability, disease markers, methylated proteins, and imprinted genes. But how did we get here? Learn about the history of epigenetics in this timeline spanning 130 years.


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Drug Companies Could Use EHR Systems for Targeted Marketing

Drug Companies Could Use EHR Systems for Targeted Marketing | healthcare technology |

Pharmaceutical companies increasingly are using electronic health records to analyze patient data and market their products to consumers and physicians through advertisements and email campaigns.

Electronic health record systems could be used by pharmaceutical companies to market their products to physicians and consumers,Reuters reports.

Pharmaceutical companies historically have gathered patients' de-identified data from insurers, pharmacies and public records to improve their marketing strategies.

However, drug companies can collect and analyze data through EHR systems and use that information to reach out to consumers and doctors.

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We’d all be better off with our health records on Facebook

We’d all be better off with our health records on Facebook | healthcare technology |

A Facebook user’s timeline provides both a snapshot of who that user is and a historical record of the user’s activity on FacebookMy Facebook timeline is about me, and fittingly, I control itIt’s also one, single profileAnyone I allow to view my timeline views my timeline—they don’t each create their own copies of it.

Intuitive, right? So why don’t medical records work that way? There is no unified, single patient record—every doctor I’ve ever visited has his or her own separate copy of my recordsAnd in an age where we can conduct banking transactions on my smartphone, many patients still can’t access or contribute to the medical records their doctors keep for them.

My proposal? Medical records should follow Facebook’s lead.

“About” for Complete, Patient-Informed Medical History

On Facebook: The “about” section is the one that most closely resembles the concept of a user profileIt includes a picture selected by the user and lists information such as gender; relationship status; age, political and religious views; interests and hobbies; favorite quotes, books and movies; and free-form biographical information added by the user.

“Privacy Settings” and “Permissions” for Controlled Sharing

On Facebook: Privacy settings allow users to control who can see the information they post or that is posted about them. For example, in my general privacy settings I can choose to make my photos visible only to the people I’ve accepted as “friends.” However, if I post a photo I want the entire world to see, I can change the default setting for that photo to be visible publicly instead.

“Status Updates” to Document Diagnoses and Treatments

On Facebook: “Status updates” let Facebook users broadcast what’s going on with them at a given moment. (For example, my status update might say: “I just had a great idea for improving medical records.”) A user’s latest status update appears toward the top of the timeline; older statuses can be viewed by scrolling through the timeline.

“Photos” for the Online Delivery of Test Results

On Facebook: Users can upload pictures they’ve taken. Photos are organized into albums that are visible on the user’s timeline. There’s also a special “photos” section where viewers of the timeline can go to see all of a user’s photo albums.

“Tagging” to Involve Other Parties and Track Common Themes

On Facebook: Users can “tag” other users to indicate their involvement with the content being posted. For example, when I post a picture of myself with a friend, I can “tag” the friend in that photo. This ties the photo to both our timelines instead of just mine. It also triggers a “notification” to the friend that she’s been tagged. She can remove the tag if she doesn’t wish for the photo to be tied to her timeline.

“Notifications” for Test Result Alerts, Medication Alerts, or Preventive Care Reminders

On Facebook: Users are alerted by red “notification” messages when another user writes them a message, posts a picture of them or otherwise interacts with their profile. These notifications are a way to make the user aware of interactions or information involving them.

“Check-Ins” to Denote Office Visits

On Facebook: Users can “check in” to places they’re currently visiting. For example, I could “check in” to the concert I’m at on a Saturday night. This would serve as both a status update and a record of my attendance of the concert. Photos can also be marked with places to record where they were taken.

“Friendships” to Track New Provider Relationships

On Facebook: Users can create “friendships” with other users when one party electronically requests a friendship and the other party electronically accepts. These friendships are marked on the user’s timeline (“Jane Doe is now friends with John Smith”) along with the date the online friendship was created.

“Events” to Track and Remind for Upcoming Appointments

On Facebook: Users can create online “events” to manage attendance and other details for in-person events. For example, I might create an event for the New Year’s party I plan to host, and I might invite my Facebook “friends” to that online event, where they could RSVP and receive reminders as the event date approaches.

a lot more at,4/

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Personalized Medicine: when a computer assists you with your health

Personalized Medicine: when a computer assists you with your health | healthcare technology |

We are all encouraged to live a healthy lifestyle to avoid potentially life-threatening diseases. Exercising and good dietary habits make a big difference in maintaining our health.

However, for some diseases, our cells carry important information that can alter this equation. It is estimated that the cells in our body have about 30 thousand genes. The information they encode tells each cell how to behave within our body.

For example, a particular gene might determine the eye color of a person; another gene might tell a cell that it should become heart tissue; and yet another could be in charge of producing insulin in our body. However, sometimes these genes can be mutated, causing the gene to be either nonfunctional or functioning with a different behavior. These mutations have been found to cause some of the most challenging diseases.

“Personalized Medicine” is a nascent field that tailors diagnosis and treatment to a patient by analyzing their clinical and genomic information. This is where bioinformaticians are assisting clinicians to achieve better diagnosis, treatments and clinical outcomes. Computer algorithms are a crucial part in this process, since human researchers cannot process the vast amount of information and interactions in the genomic data.

Algorithms can take into consideration a wide range of variables, including clinical signs and symptoms, laboratory data, and information from the DNA, such as the functioning of genes. They combine this information from a wide selection of people to come up with a model that can predict reasonably well the presence of a given disease. The rationale for this is to allow computers to ‘learn from past experiences’, and progressively gather data to improve upon their decisions.

Sky Sirewest's curator insight, December 18, 2013 8:01 AM

Now science / research has come full circle! A medically developed & tested natural product stimulates an enzyme in every cell that allows the body to correct bad cell growth. 

As we get older DNA material is gradually lost. DNA is the blue print for each of the millions of new cells created every minute. Our cells get weaker, more incomplete, & sometimes diseased as we travel down this road of aging. Too often this process is sped up by stress & toxic environment even in children.  As the the body begins to lengthen telomeres & replace missing DNA endless things are corrected. Doctors & scientist are more than too excited by transformations they are seeing in their patients & themselves. 

Hear more: 559 670 1425  See more:

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NHS tests 'plaster' patient-monitor

NHS tests 'plaster' patient-monitor | healthcare technology |

The NHS is starting to test a sticking-plaster-sized patient-monitoring patch.

Placed on the chest, it wirelessly transmits data on heart rate, breathing and body-temperature while the patient is free to move around.

Independent experts say the system, developed in Britain, could ease pressure on wards and has the potential to monitor patients in their own home.

But the Royal College of Nursing says there is no substitute for having enough staff.

Routine checks for vital signs - including temperature, blood pressure and heart rate - are a key part of care and safety in hospitals.

Typically they may be carried out every four hours, depending on the patient's condition.

But patients can deteriorate between checks, putting them at risk.

A hospital in Brighton run by the private healthcare firm Spire has been testing the battery-powered patch, which updates information on some of the vital signs every couple of minutes.

The wireless device, developed by the Oxford-based firm Sensium Healthcare, then issues an alert if the readings fall outside pre-set levels, indicating a potential problem.

The patch is placed on the chest just above the heart when the patient is admitted. There are no cables to any monitors. Instead, readings are recorded and transmitted to a box in each room that works like a wi-fi router, passing on data to the hospital IT system.

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Can Mobile Technologies and Big Data Improve Health?

Can Mobile Technologies and Big Data Improve Health? | healthcare technology |

After decades as a technological laggard, medicine has entered its data age. Mobile technologies, sensors, genome sequencing, and advances in analytic software now make it possible to capture vast amounts of information about our individual makeup and the environment around us. The sum of this information could transform medicine, turning a field aimed at treating the average patient into one that’s customized to each person while shifting more control and responsibility from doctors to patients.

The question is: can big data make health care better?

“There is a lot of data being gathered. That’s not enough,” says Ed Martin, interim director of the Information Services Unit at the University of California San Francisco School of Medicine. “It’s really about coming up with applications that make data actionable.”

The business opportunity in making sense of that data—potentially $300 billion to $450 billion a year, according to consultants McKinsey & Company—is driving well-established companies like Apple, Qualcomm, and IBM to invest in technologies from data-capturing smartphone apps to billion-dollar analytical systems. It’s feeding the rising enthusiasm for startups as well.

Venture capital firms like Greylock Partners and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, as well as the corporate venture funds of Google, Samsung, Merck, and others, have invested more than $3 billion in health-care information technology since the beginning of 2013—a rapid acceleration from previous years, according to data from Mercom Capital Group. 

Paul's curator insight, July 24, 9:06 AM

Yes - but bad data/analysis can harm it

Pedro Yiakoumi's curator insight, July 24, 10:48 AM

Vigisys's curator insight, July 27, 1:34 AM

La collecte de données de santé tout azimut, même à l'échelle de big data, et l'analyse de grands sets de données est certainement utile pour formuler des hypothèses de départ qui guideront la recherche. Ou permettront d'optimiser certains processus pour une meilleure efficacité. Mais entre deux, une recherche raisonnée et humaine reste indispensable pour réaliser les "vraies" découvertes. De nombreuses études du passé (bien avant le big data) l'ont démontré...

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How Twitter can be used to address specific health issues

How Twitter can be used to address specific health issues | healthcare technology |

A new study led by Jenine K. Harris, PhD, examined the use of the hashtag #childhoodobesity in tweets to track Twitter conversations about the issue of overweight kids.

The study noted that conversations involving childhood obesity on Twitter don't often include comments from representatives of government and public health organizations that likely have evidence relating to how best to approach this issue. The authors think maybe they should.

Twitter use is growing nationwide. In its 2014 Twitter update, the Pew Research Center found that Twitter is used more by those in lower-income groups, which traditionally are more difficult to reach with health information.

While younger Americans also are more likely to use Twitter, it is used equally across education groups and is used more by non-white Americans than whites.

This, Harris said, is one of the reasons Twitter is an avenue that the academic and government sources with accurate health information should consider taking advantage of in order to reach a wide variety of people.

"I think public health so far doesn't have a great game plan for using social media, we're still laying the foundation for that," she said. "We're still learning what works.

"Public health communities, politicians, and government sources -- people who really know what works -- should join in the conversation. Then we might be able to make an impact," she said.

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askdrmaxwell's curator insight, July 14, 3:09 PM

Do you use social media for your health questions and research? 

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FDA Looks to Urge Companies to Tweet Drug Risks

FDA Looks to Urge Companies to Tweet Drug Risks | healthcare technology |

The FDA is looking into a new way to regulate drugs and medical devices—by using social media. The agency has drafted social media guidelines that would urge drug companies to use platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, to educate the public about the risks of their prescription drug or medical device.

The draft guidelines, which are currently under review by the agency, propose that companies be required to use the “character space constraints” on social media platforms such as Twitter to tweet the risks, along with the benefits, of a product. The guidelines also recommend that manufacturers include a link that takes readers to more information about the product. In the case of Twitter, that information should all be included in a single tweet.

    If a firm concludes that adequate benefit and risk information, as well as other required information, cannot all be communicated within the same character-space-limited communication, then the firm should reconsider using that platform for the intended promotional message.

If approved, the guidelines will become the first formal recommendation by the agency regarding manufacturers’ use of social media.

Via Plus91
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Digital health is going to need medical approval and a great UI

Digital health is going to need medical approval and a great UI | healthcare technology |

So far the internet of things hasn’t made much headway into patient care in the medical setting, but consumers are buying wellness devices for a variety of reasons. Will the medical world embrace that data?

The intersection of healthcare and connected devices was thrown into high relief these last few weeks as both Apple and Samsung unveiled ecosystems to take consumer health data and turn it into actionable intelligence.

But this week’s guests at the Weekly podacst at GigaOm are confident that as advanced as consumer-grade consumer grade health devices get, they won’t become something doctors are hot on for years to come — if ever.

In this week’s podcast Stacey Higginbotham discusses medical connected devices and where it may meet the consumer with Rick Valencia from Qualcomm Life. Will doctor’s prescribe our apps or devices? 

Vigisys's curator insight, June 15, 1:22 AM

Un podcast intéressant qui évoque les freins à l'utilisation médicale des objets connectés. On y évoque le besoin de valider les usages avec des études cliniques et d'adapter les interfaces à un usage professionnel. Que du bon sens !

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The future of medicine: Augmented Reality & Google Glass

The future of medicine: Augmented Reality & Google Glass | healthcare technology |

With his Google Glass, Stanford University physician Dr. Homero Rivas pinpoints a target on the skin of an anatomical human model.

The surgeon and his assistant then direct their Glass at the target to reveal an augmented reality display on their screens. To their eyes, looking through the Glass, they can see the procedure illustrated step by step with images superimposed over the skin of the model.

Stanford University live-streamed that demonstration to physicians around the world. It wasn’t a particularly complicated procedure, but it was one of the first times that augmented reality has been introduced to Glassware for the benefit of surgeons.

“You don’t need to go in blind anymore,” said Dr. Rivas in an interview with VentureBeat following the demonstration. 

“Now, we have an educated impression of where a mass is. We can better understand exactly where to make an incision so we can create less trauma.”

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Pacific Cove's curator insight, March 14, 12:12 AM

“You don’t need to go in blind anymore,” said Dr. Rivas in an interview with VentureBeat following the demonstration. 

“Now, we have an educated impression of where a mass is. We can better understand exactly where to make an incision so we can create less trauma.”

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Personalized Medicine Best Way to Treat Cancer - Study

Personalized Medicine Best Way to Treat Cancer - Study | healthcare technology |

“If you’re dealing with a disease like cancer that can be arrived at by multiple pathways, it makes sense that you’re not going to find that each patient has taken the same path” - John McDonald, a professor in the School of Biology at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta.

If a driver is traveling to New York City, I-95 might be their route of choice. But they could also take I-78, I-87 or any number of alternate routes. Most cancers begin similarly, with many possible routes to the same disease. A new study found evidence that assessing the route to cancer on a case-by-case basis might make more sense than basing a patient’s cancer treatment on commonly disrupted genes and pathways.

The study found little or no overlap in the most prominent genetic malfunction associated with each individual patient’s disease compared to malfunctions shared among the group of cancer patients as a whole.
“This paper argues for the importance of personalized medicine, where we treat each person by looking for the etiology of the disease in patients individually,” said McDonald, 

“The findings have ramifications on how we might best optimize cancer treatments as we enter the era of targeted gene therapy.”

The research was published February 11 online in the journal PANCREAS and was funded by the Georgia Tech Foundation and the St. Joseph’s Mercy Foundation.

In the study, researchers collected cancer and normal tissue samples from four patients with pancreatic cancer and also analyzed data from eight other pancreatic cancer patients that had been previously reported in the scientific literature by a separate research group.

McDonald’s team compiled a list of the most aberrantly expressed genes in the cancer tissues isolated from these patients relative to adjacent normal pancreatic tissue.

The study found that collectively 287 genes displayed significant differences in expression in the cancers vs normal tissues. Twenty-two cellular pathways were enriched in cancer samples, with more than half related to the body’s immune response. The researchers ran statistical analyses to determine if the genes most significantly abnormally expressed on an individual patient basis were the same as those identified as most abnormally expressed across the entire group of patients.

The researchers found that the molecular profile of each individual cancer patient was unique in terms of the most significantly disrupted genes and pathways.

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What is the Future for Genetic Testing and Personalized Medicine?

What is the Future for Genetic Testing and Personalized Medicine? | healthcare technology |

Personalized medicine, or the ability for the medical profession to tailor therapy to particular individuals’ genetic characteristics, has been a long desired but ever elusive goal for the life sciences.  However, the prospects for personalized medicine appear to be improving in recent years.  These changes come in the wake of a variety of medical advances, including human genomic testing and cancer drugs targeted for individuals with specific genetic profiles.

As public attention to understanding the human genome has increased, the topic has garnered substantial controversy and regulation in this sector is poised to increase.  The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has already indicated its intent to regulate—most recently in a report clarifying its future role in personalized medicine and in warning letters to direct-to-consumer genetic testing companies.

The FDA maintains it has the authority to regulate personal genetic data because it defines that data as a medical device under Section 201(h) of the Food Drug & Cosmetics Act.  The agency also points to its role as the federal body charged with providing guidance on medical device claims and protecting consumers.

Some health scholars and consumers have weighed in on the propriety of regulation.  In a study of consumer attitudes toward regulating direct-to-consumer genetic testing, researchers found many consumers wanted unfettered access to genetics testing services without government regulation, but favored oversight to ensure that the information provided was high quality.

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FDA Unveils Draft Guidance on Drugmakers' Social Media Use

FDA Unveils Draft Guidance on Drugmakers' Social Media Use | healthcare technology |

On Monday, FDA released draft policy guidance indicating that pharmaceutical drug manufacturers and distributors would not be held responsible for information posted on social media about their products by consumers or providers.


According to Modern Healthcare, the pharmaceutical industry has been reluctant to use social media platforms because it lacked FDA guidance on how such platforms could be used without violating certain prohibited promotion.

For example, pharmaceutical firms were concerned about being held accountable for social media posts by clinicians or patients promoting off-label use of their products. In addition, drugmakers are required to disclose side effect information when promoting their products, but social media posts by third parties might not include such data.

Details of Draft Policy Guidance

In the draft policy guidance, FDA notes that such companies are generally not accountable for user-generated content that is "truly independent," meaning it was not produced or solicited by the companies.

The draft guidance also states that pharmaceutical companies are not responsible for content published on websites they financially support but do not control editorially.

In addition, such companies will not be held accountable for promotional materials found on third-party websites as long as the pharmaceutical firms did not direct the promotion's placement on the website and did not have any other control or influence over the site.


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Sensors that want to your smartphone to be your doctor is a big trend at CES

Sensors that want to your smartphone to be your doctor is a big trend at CES | healthcare technology |
Sensors that want to your smartphone to be your doctor is a big trend at CES

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Health Risk Assessments Are A Powerful Component of Population Health Management

Health Risk Assessments Are A Powerful Component of Population Health Management | healthcare technology |
Health Risk Assessments (HRAs) are a powerful component of population health management strategies for healthcare organizations.
nrip's insight:

HRA's are a valuable tool to assist physicians in keeping their patients in good health. Simple risk calculators for heart health, diabetes, occupational health have been around for a long time, and patients have slowly started warming to the idea of filling in questionaires over 10-15 minutes which help them make better sense of thir health.

The major components of a Good HRA are accuracy, detail . ability to assist patients and the quality of the final report and analysis it provides. When we built our Eucalyptus HRA Engine, we also understood the importance of repeat risk identification and added the concepts of information prescription into the HRA results.

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Zheng Pupeng Megan's curator insight, July 22, 5:16 AM

Health Risk Assessments have been used by healthcare organisations as a health management strategy for many years. This article emphasises on the extend of these benefits to not only employees in workplaces but also spouses and other dependents over 18.


This key information was placed at the start of the article as an agenda setting technique to inform audiences that benefits are extended to family members due to the importance of health care assessments that many are not practicing.


In my personal opinion, I do feel that this effectively communicates the importance of monitoring one's health, and also communicates a message to let employees recognise that their healthcare organisations care about their health and well-being. An organization that extends such benefits to its employees create a more inclusive and motivated workforce that will reap rewards in the near future!

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100 Healthcare And Digital Health Influencers To Follow In 2014

A list of healthcare and digital health influencers to follow in 2014.

nrip's insight:

I would also add @JBBC to this list... 

Jay Gadani's curator insight, August 6, 8:43 PM

A great look into the future!